Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sliding knots


I know it's been a while. All of last week I was feeling weird. I have a heaviness in my heart which I cannot understand. I spent a lot of time staring into space. If you know me, I don't spend any time staring into space. It's not like I have any issues pending which are bothering me. Nothing of that sort. I don't know what I'm going through but I know it'll pass. So last week went entirely to waste. Expect for a few pencil cases and a tiny bit of work on my ePattern, I spent the rest of the time staring into space or flipping through craft books just to take my mind somewhere safe.

I feel this week is going to be different as already I have not spent any time staring. I'm starting to feel energized again. It really had to do with VDay. Yes, the dreaded Valentine's Day is here once again.

Happy Valentine's Day. 

How did you spend Valentine's Day? If you are in a relationship, do you reflect on which state you are in, on account of VDay? Is it friendship, courtship, hatred or love?

My feelings towards me hubs on the rare occasion swing from love to hatred but usually stays at Comfortable. You know the state where nothing too crazy happens and you're okay with each other.

I'm usually anti-VDay but this year I announced to me hubs that we would do something on the VDay and that we would do a gift exchange. He did grumble that I gave him too little notice. What brought this VDay "celebration" was me having a gift which I planned on giving him but our wedding anniversary is in March and I didn't want to wait that long. So that's why. Plus giving him a gift on VDay meant I would get a gift in return. Hahahaha. So sad but true. But anything to get out of the "stare into space" stage, right?

Well, I threatened to cook a meal but hubs wisely declined. We went to a restaurant which served cheap set meals.

I had fish, he had steak. The restaurant had a Valentine's Day special priced at $38 each but I declined. This restaurant is not exactly known for its culinary skills. I did not like the cake. It had too much cream. And yes, today is a no-diet day. I believe I gained some weight last week. I failed to mention that while staring into space, I snacked a lot too. Dem you space!

Hey, anyone received flowers today? I didn't. Instead, after lunch before hubs went to work, he bought 2 pillows and a bolster and I had to take them home on the train.

To exit the train station I had to use the luggage exit. And I'm guilty of knocking into many, many people.

Ah, the exciting parts. The presents. Have you bought handmade Chinese jewellery before? If you have, most likely the closure does not use any metal clasp. Instead it employs a sliding knot method. I have long been fascinated by this clever closure. Once a craft seller taught it to me but I forgot it almost immediately. I have knotting books which have pictures of the knots and I made a few in the past but I forgot it almost immediately. What prompted my recent renewed interest was the dragon necklace I bought in January.

This necklace uses the movable knot to increase/decrease the length. In fact, the seller took great pains to explain the movable knot to me. Much as I like Chinese handmade jewellery, I find the cord used is often crappy. I had been harbouring thoughts of changing the cord but first I had to figure out how to tie the sliding knots which seem to escape me. Well, I watched a few youtube videos and chose the method that is easiest to remember. I didn't want to make it and then forget how to right away.

Well, I did it folk!!! I know how to tie the sliding knots now. It was a lot of research and just plain trying out the knots. Also, I chose the method which I feel is the easiest to remember.  It's so easy I can do it with my eyes closed but I won't. The bonus is all the obsession got me out of the staring into space.

Me hubs love a particular necklace which I bought him years ago. I mean, literally love it to bits and pieces. I have tried to get him another one but nothing came close. Anyhoo, I decided to restring the beads into a new necklace. (as a surprise)

Now it is just a simple necklace with the saved beads. But check out the sliding knots!

A while ago, hubs asked for a swivel clasp which he wanted to use as a pendant. Last night I saw it on the table and decided to make another sliding knot necklace.

Here he is with his presents. Doesn't he look happy? Hubs actually thought I had bought the necklace I re-stringed.

This bracelet is for me. I used a few simple beads and spacers (metal thingy) and closed with sliding knots as well.

What about my present? Ah yes. I got a fairy pendant necklace. Isn't it odd that we gave each other necklaces? This fairy pendant has a little story. Last year I became interested in a similar fairy pendant on eBay. Hubs criticized it a little too much so I ended up not getting it. It was sold out later and I grumbled a little. Later I started watching out for other similar fairy pendants. Unknown to me, so did hubs. He chose one close to the one I wanted and bought it! It was really unexpected. Okay, I am so cooking hubs the meal he doesn't want.

Back to the sliding knots. Think you want to make your own sliding knot jewellery?  This video is the closest to the method I use. Watch it to get an idea. The teacher is not very vocal in his instructions and expects you to WATCH CAREFULLY. Hahaha. To help you along, I have taken pics of the steps when I made a sample. Please bear with me as I am not an expert in this. And if you have a better method, please share with me. p.s I am right handed.

For bracelet, use a 18" cord for practice. I can make a simple one using 15" cord.
For necklace a 32" cord will work for my big head.
Every decorative knot or long tail you want to incorporate requires additional length.

First you arrange your cord (nothing too slinky) in this manner. I put a clip on the tail which you don't work on so you won't be confused. Note working tail is on top crossing over the cord below.

Measure 4" from end of tail and bend it. (You can pinch 3" or less if you don't want to end up with a long tail. It's harder to work with something shorter tho') Form a little loop where working tail crosses the cord below. Use right hand to hold loop in place. See image below to see how I pinch the loop.

Very important, the working tail goes into the big circle and ...... 

working tail goes up. (just imagine you're trying to wrap the little loop with the tail.

Continue wrapping the little loop with the working tail a number of times. Tuck the end of the working tail into the loop. I do a minimum of 3 loops to be safe. A good result is you have just a small hole in the little loop to insert the end of the tail. If not, you can still fix it later.

This step makes or breaks the knot. The whole idea is to tighten the knot. You should always hold on to the knot when tugging in the opposite direction. If your little loop is still visible after you tighten the knot, just hold on to the little tail with left hand and hold cord in right hand and again tug in opposite direction.This will make the little loop go into the knot.

At this point, you can see the knot slides. Play with it to get the idea before you continue.

To do the other side, re-position the cord. The idea is to have the working tail on the left as I am right handed. Take note the working tail is now the one with the clip. The working tail is above the cord.

We do exactly as before. Bend 4" from the working tail.Form a little loop where working tail crosses the cord below. Use right hand to hold loop in place.

To change the length of the finished result, you always use both hands to do it. Either move the knots or tug at the "single strand" of cord. Play with it and see for yourself.

Here I have a simple idea for a sample bracelet. 

Cut slightly longer than needed. e.g. cut 20".
After centering beads, knot 2 dead knots to secure the beads in center of cord.
Cut cord to the size you want e.g. 18" but be sure to center the beads.
After that, you tie the knots the same way as demonstrated.
Hope my instructions are clear. See ya.

Linked to these parties:
Skip to my lou
Ninth street notions
The gunny sack
Get outta of my head please
So very creative
Ask anna
Family Ever After


Bethany said...

Those knots are pretty neat. I don't hold much hope for myself but I'm going to try anyway :)

opportunityknits said...

Hi Jane, I like reading your posts. Never fails to make me laugh, you have the gift of humour :)
I have a necklace that has this sliding knot too.
haha, I just noticed that even your "leave a comment" is personalised humour - love it!

*Tea said...

wowee, great tutorial Jane!
i have a pretty pretty old pendant made from coconut shell, this would look so cool with a necklace like this!

PS: Your hubby looks pretty cool with his new necklace! :D

Chris H said...

I'm really glad you both enjoyed VDay!
That sliding knot thing ... looks too complicated for me!

Dee said...

Hi Jane,
That sliding knot is cool. Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to give it a go. I'll show my efforts when I get it sussed. :)
Hubs and I didn't do anything special for vday this year - both just too tired from work and life. Occasionally one of us does something to surprise the other but mostly we don't worry about it. We are planning a meal out but never do it on vday as everything is dearer on the actual day.
It looks like you both had a nice date.
On the staring into space thing - some times you just gotta take it slow and let everything settle and catch up with itself. I used to be just go-go-go all the time. I eventually crashed with burn out. Now I am learning to pace myself better and to allow slow-stare-into-space times; the tricky bit for me is to not feel guilty or that the time was wasted. Baby steps. If you have a patch where you just don't have the energy or motivation, as long as it is just a patch, then relax and go with it. As 'they' say, smell the flowers once in a while - as long as there isn't a bee in one when you stick your nose in for a sniff. ;)

Carol & Eddy said...

Wow, you're super good for posting the tutorial! And your husband looked happy indeed with his present. And he was super 'alert' to get you the necklace. I think some days we need to zone-out to prepare for busy days :-)

punkychewster said...

You two are so cute la! The sliding knot tutorial is way over my head. I am happy to just purchase necklaces instead of figuring them out, but i've had such necklaces before, i like that they're adjustable. Happy belated Valentine's day!!

Eunice said...

just found your blog. I'm so happy to find another Singaporean craft blog. Love your humor. Visit me at mommysewpretty.blogspot.com

Little Blue Mouse said...

Valentine's day is just another day in our house so no gifts exchanged here.

I've never seen sliding knots before but thanks for the tutorial.

tamdoll said...

It sounds like you had such a good day!!! I love the necklaces & your sliding knot tutorial - I will have to keep that in mind for a future necklace. You're very lucky he saw something you liked and got it for you, that pendant was great.

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